Robert Frost is America’s most beloved poets. Throughout most of his work, we can see his ongoing battle between good and evil. In his works, we see many people who are forced to face challenges that are essential in the course of ones life. Frost exhibits these themes in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and in “The Road Not Taken” by capturing the essence of an individual that has encountered and persevered through difficult times in life only if they succeed by the standards they create themselves.
In “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” we have a man who stops in the woods to watch the snow fall. The speaker finds these woods to escape from the everyday stresses of life. My own interpretation is that the man finds himself at a critical crossroad in his life and he flees to these woods to reflect on his life.
The woods that Frost illustrates are a representation of heaven. Although the man is turning to God for guidance, he is neither in nor near a church. Even still, he believes his location is irrelevant to God, who ultimately listens no matter what.
In the second stanza, the horse is only a figment of his imagination. This “horse” is, in actuality, the speaker’s own consciousness, a moment that we create something to relive the stress of our deepest emotions. It acts as an internal censor to keep us close to sanity, the value of life, and maybe even God trying to save his life. When he comes “Between the woods and frozen lake,” he finds that he is at a crossroad in life. The speaker ponders what direction to take, whether to live as the moral man that he is, or to take the easy way out by taking his own life. Frost portrays “The darkest evening of the year,” as the speaker comes to the end of his road.
In the third stanza, while the speaker is giving “His harness bells a shake,” he is really contemplating and asking himself if he should go through with the suicide.
The restful imagery of “lovely, dark and, deep” provides a simple, peaceful, and calm feeling that attracts the speaker to suicide. He realizes that he had “promises to keep,” but we can only hope that he decided to fulfill his obligations to God, his family, his friends, and most importantly to himself. However, we will never know because as the poem comes to a close, there is no ending. Instead, the refrains only present a fade out and the poem is left open-ended. It is for us as readers to wonder if the speaker will create the only peacefulness that he knows or will he choose to remain the man that already exists.
Much like a “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” “The Road….. Not Taken,” involves a man who comes to a crossroad in life. “The Road Not Taken” is about a man who has come to a fork in the road and has to decide which path in life he will choose knowing that this decision will be a final one.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” simply says that the speaker has two choices in life and it is something that he has never had to encounter a life changing choice. He then wishes that he could travel each road knowing that he will never have that luxury. Despite all that we desire, dream, and hope for, we are aware that we cannot have it all. The speaker pondered and agonized weighing all the possibilities as he “looked down on e as far as [he] could.” He wonders what he will miss and what lies before him.
In the second and third stanzas, the speaker comes to terms that one road is “as just as fair” as the other. Each road was “worn . . . really about the same” and later stating that they were “equally lay.” On one hand, he is faced with the more popular of the two, the road of the conformist, and more importantly the road more traveled by. On the other hand, he could choose the path that was “grassy and wanted wear,” the road that is certainly “less traveled by.” The speaker is frightened of what lurks beyond each turn in the road, in fear of the unknown events that lie ahead. When he talks of “how way leads to way/I doubted if I should ever come back,” he really knows that this decision will be the final one and this will change the course of his life.
The final lines of the poem suggest that there are more options than simply walking down a single road, taking only one path. The speaker stands years later reflecting on the choices that he has made not knowing whether the other choice would have been a better one in any way. He indicates that this one decision has affected his entire life. “With a sign,” the speaker wonders if he would do it all over again pondering that little “difference” that convinced him to choose “the one less traveled by.” The “difference” that he experienced presents an expression of an individuality which separates him from those who choose to follow society.
The two speaker’s in each of Frost’s poems are apparently in similar situations. Each has a certain decision that must be made. If their decisions were not thought through, the consequences could have proven to be detrimental. These poems show us that one should follow his own passion. Not following the passion that makes one strive could result in a life worth nothing, a life unfulfilled. In conclusion, one should take the longer path and not cheat themselves out of life by shortcuts.